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Eating a Mystery: week 1

CW: This post gets heavy and may be difficult for people who have issues with suicidal ideation or depression.


The first week has been checkered.

Each meal has been eaten, but sometimes I’ve not been full when I’m done, sometimes the meals are lackluster, and sometimes I’m purposefully distracting myself from eating because its the only way I could find to eat. I’ve had to sort out where the rules can be bent and where they can’t, because trying to eat while teetering on the edge of a meltdown is very challenging. Making the choice between what is more important: being present or being able to eat has not always been clear, and I often erred on the side of eating over mindfulness, and hopefully O would agree to that decision, but I’ve really no way of knowing. Breakfast is usually one of the least-mindful meals because I’m often barely functional at 6 in the morning, and its not uncommon for my depression to be sky high first thing in the morning. In situations where I found myself eating with others, I often decided it was more important to be present than to focus on navel gazing. Hopefully these are the right answers to whatever is going on because no one gave me any guidelines for these sorts of situations.

As it turns out, its hard to want to nourish yourself when you 1. don’t want to nourish yourself and 2. aren’t particularly interested in nourishing the person who directed you to do this to begin with. Every time I’ve sat down to eat, I’ve heard a phrase run through my head, a sort of attempt to put me in the right state of mind for what I’m trying to achieve, and most times when I think about nourishing myself to nourish O, I have difficulties with wanting to.

There is a large rift between us, and I still don’t entirely understand how it got there, but its there all the same. I’ve not trusted him for years, and while I was willing to finish the work I had started in 2016, I ultimately haven’t wanted him touching anything that is mine. I’ve had this inherent desire to draw a very thick boundary between my work and what I do for the NTRW, lest they decide to dip their fingers into my stuff without asking permission. Where did this come from? I don’t know, but its been there and it’s not gone away.

Asking me to nourish my body for a god I don’t want anywhere near me is asking a lot. Asking a god I don’t want near me to potentially draw close to my body because that’s where the nourishment is is asking almost too much, apparently.

There was a bout at some point during the week where I really rifled through all of my memories of O, and our earliest interactions were not what I’d consider to be, uh, healthy or consensual. Boundaries have been crossed by him in nearly every respect, and yet somehow I’m still here, and I’m really skeeved by that. I had an overwhelming moment where I found myself rejecting what he had done, and I think by extension, rejected him. I can’t tell what impact that’s going to have, since my ability to really tap into anything from O since has basically disappeared. For all I know, I’ve broken it or messed it up before the first week was even done. I can’t even tell if I’m bothered by that.

I’d sometimes shift my thoughts to nourishing Father-Lover instead, to see how I felt about my nourishment nourishing him. Parts of me were just as against the idea of nourishing him as they are against O, but my thoughts regarding FL were mostly tinged with sadness over contempt. I found that the biggest hiccup with FL was that I never mourned him in any of the situations where he was, well, killed. Each situation where it happened, I had no way of knowing if he’d show back up again or not. He was so hellbent on not coming back, and yet it seemed cruel that inevitably, he would eventually re-manifest back in the same awful place he tried to leave to begin with. It’s partially why we got on so well together — we could both commiserate about how little we wanted to be alive.

Of course, he eventually got what he wanted, leaving me with one less person in my life.

I made some artwork to try and process the mourning that I never completed. I would be lying if I said I knew if it helped or not. There are moments when I think it has, and there are moments when I’m sure that it hasn’t. Though as the week dragged on, I found that my focus shifted from “fathers” to myself and my inability to want to take care of myself.

Someone had commented on the last post about how the act of making my food could be folded into all of this. I know it could be, but the idea sounds awful to me. Any attempts to really cuddle up with the notion of being invested in my food prep have left me frustrated and against the idea. The thought of investing myself even more into making food that I ultimately don’t like, that ultimately doesn’t seem to ever fill me or sate me just sounds like Too Much. So even though I’m supposed to be really going all in with eating, its just not happening. I don’t like eating, food is not pleasurable to me, cooking is boring and sucks the life out of me, and I just really don’t know how to get around that.

When I went to therapy, one of the first issues she really wanted me to sort out was being invested in being alive. She told me that I couldn’t expect life to ever be worthwhile if I was only half-assing everything I did. Which is fair, I guess. Shortly after I really tried to start going “all in” on life, and I held on to my motivation to push forward despite the odds until sometime last winter. I felt it slowly slipping away from me as the spaces that had been inviting before began to change, and suddenly they became lonely and alienating for me. I lost more of my friends, and with it, everywhere I went just felt all that much more isolating. I pulled back on every social media platform because of this, trying to shelter myself from the loneliness that howls inside of me, and by the time I began having daily panic attacks in March, I knew that “all in” was gone.

And perhaps that’s the largest core issue for me so far with everything tied to this “project.” I’m not invested in living at this point. Its a combination of so many things that have converged to really just suck the desire to bother out of me. I am a burden to myself, a trait I learned by being a burden to my parents and family. I abandon myself because that’s what people do when they are abandoned by others (particularly at a young age). These two things feed into one another — you don’t want to do the work when it feels like a burden, especially because you’re not invested in the person/s you’re doing the work for. I can barely muster the effort to do basics so that I’ll be here for my partner, a person I actually care about, let alone a deity that I feel like I can barely tolerate at this point. Instead of drawing me closer to wanting to sustain myself or sustain my gods, its mostly just dredged up all of the reasons why I’d rather not.

I have no clue if this is what O had in mind when he tasked me with this, but here we are all the same.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2019 in Kemeticism, Year of Rites

 

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Eating a Mystery

A few weeks ago I was getting ready for my shower when I suddenly got this memo that went something like “don’t forget that you need to be preparing for the Mysteries this year.” It struck me as odd, since I haven’t really done anything for the Year of Rites since October, and for the NTRW to not harp me on that, but instead decide I needed to perform the Mysteries really seemed out of character.

I asked the “memo” what I needed to focus on for the Mysteries, and I received one line, it said “Glorify your father.

In the matter of a few seconds, my brain raced in several directions with this. First off, the word father really seemed highlighted to me, and there are two reasons for that. First is the mythological component. Osiris’ myths are frequently centered on Horus and his quest to avenge his father and take back what’s his. Second, you’ve got the historical context in that every Osiris relies on his eldest son to give him a proper funeral and to maintain his cult to at least some degree. Both of these aspects would place me in the role of Horus glorifying my father, and have fairly straight-forward heka connotations.

But what really caught me was the third place my brain went.

While I understand that the NTRW can use familial terms for some people, it’s never been the case for me. Further, if there was a NTR out there that I would use familial terms with, it certainly isn’t Osiris. But there is another person that frequently gets labeled specifically as father (as opposed to “dad” or some other similar label, it’s always father) and that would be good ol’ Father-Lover. Would I need to incorporate aspects of my rebirth/rebuilding process into this? Or perhaps more accurately — had the NTRW decided to insert themselves into my process without letting me know? I wasn’t pleased with the idea.

Between all of these concepts, though, there is one vein of similarities: you become your father.

Ultimately, the reason Osiris gets it on with Aset is largely to make sure that he continues on through his son. Ultimately, the son and father overlap and become one mythologically speaking (hence Bull of His Mother) and so in some respects, I would argue that you could potentially interchange the two to some extent. And when it comes to Father-Lover, well, its just that we are literally the same being spread across two forms. We are ultimately one and the same on some level or another.

So I began to mull on this. If glorifying my father ultimately ends up glorifying myself… what would glorification look like? The word “glorify” means to praise or present admirably, perhaps unjustifiably so. It is what nearly every Kemetic ritual aims to do — to beautify the NTRW in the hopes that they will remain gracious to us. It is also through this process of glorification that we ensure that the rhythmic needs of the Duat are sustained and maintained. Re needs to go into the Duat each night, he needs to push back a/pep each day, he and Osiris need to meet in order to revitalize the Duat and its residents. Just like nature, everything has a rhythm and a cycle. Part of our end of the deal is performing the rituals and doing the acts that sustain these cycles.

To consider this concept on myself, we all need a healthy attitude about ourselves. We would all lead more fulfilling and less-miserable lives if many of us weren’t constantly being self-defeating or putting ourselves down. To glorify yourself would ultimately mean to feed into your inherent regenerative nature. And so I asked myself what would help sustain me most?

I then switched back to considering the historical contexts of glorifying your father — what do akhu value most from their families? What do we often see most often for helping the akhu? And the answer I came back with was:

The voice offering, in my opinion, is the quintessential akhu rite out there. There are lots of people who know nothing about Kemeticism, but know about the “thousands of beer, bread, and every good thing” voice offering that was left to the akhu of the necropolis. The most important thing a son could do for his father was to offer the basic necessities of life so that his father could continue to live in the Duat. And when I think about what the best offering that you could give would be, I thought of the foreleg. The foreleg is, by far, the piece de resistance in the Opening the Mouth ceremony. Everything in the ritual crescendos when you pull out the choice cut of meat and offer all of its contained vitality to the statue/mummy.

I thought to myself, could I offer myself the foreleg instead? Could I offer it to both of us simultaneously?

One of the suggestions after my post about my eating issues interfering with being able to offer to the gods regularly was the idea of drawing foods, and offering the drawing. In response to this, I began to offer my paper foreleg amulet to the NTRW as a stand-in meal. And so the connection between the foreleg and the offering of foods went full circle, and I thought to myself “what if I offer a meal to myself every day? So that instead of doing offerings at a shrine that are couched inside of a larger ritual, the act of feeding myself becomes the ritual.” And in response, I heard “what if you did it three times per day?” (since, you know, we’re supposed to eat three meals a day.)

So I guess that means I’m eating three times per day for the Mysteries.

I admit, this is strange to me. It feels like a cop out, like I’m just using something I “already do,” and saying that it’s a good replacement for “proper rituals” at a shrine, as I have been doing all year. But to cite that post I mentioned above: I don’t really eat regularly. Or at least, I don’t eat as regularly as I should. So it’s actually quite a challenge for me, since I won’t be able to eat depression meals and call it a day. Even though it feels like a cop out, it’s going to actually be a challenge for me to do this for any length of time.

I decided I needed to check through other means to make sure that I was on the right track, and the response I got was so direct and straightforward that it was hard to deny the answer, so I guess this means I’m eating three times per day for the Mysteries. Which O dictated that it’s to be a month, as it’s always been. So I’m eating three times per day for a month. I’m sure that’ll be riddled with success.

The general idea of how this is supposed to go is that I’m to treat each meal as an event that requires my full attention. I’m to focus on myself, the food I’m eating, and try not to let myself get super distracted by the Internet, my phone, thoughts, or what have you. The meals need to have enough substance to them that they can be called meals. So for example, just eating a piece of bread and walking away is not good enough. It needs to big enough to fill me up (a challenge.)

The biggest question I am left with when it comes to doing this is the following: when we typically do rituals, there is a layer of separation involved. You offer to the gods, separate from you, and then you take the food into yourself afterwards. The path is outwards (to the gods) then inwards (when you eat it.) But what happens when you skip the outwards part? What happens when both the offering and the consuming are done in one step, at the same time, with both parties being overlapped? And is O doing this because he wants me to take care of myself, or is he wanting me to do this because of the overlap I just mentioned?

I guess we’ll see.

 

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True of Voice

We are often raised with fundamental “truths” that are established by our caregivers. These truths are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born, and they are reinforced regularly so long as you are around those people. Sometimes, these truths are healthy, accurate, and useful to us. Things like “you are loved by your parents” or “the world is safe” or “you can rely on your caregivers” are truths we all want to be instilled within us within the first few months of being born. This is because the truths that are given to you at that tender age will often play a significant role in how other aspects of your Self are formed and defined.

However, if you are like I am, you were raised with a lot of less-than-healthy truths. Truths that I would be willing to wager you speak to yourself everyday. This is a post about heka and truths, and how abuse distorts our truth, and therefore our heka. This post will discuss many aspects of verbal abuse, so this is a massive CW/TW to anyone who could find these topics upsetting or unbearable at the moment. Please proceed ahead with caution.

Before I dive fully into this, I want to talk about what I mean by “truths.” In this case, I’m talking about any bit of information that we have been taught or learned and have then internalized and have now accepted, without any question, that this information is the honest-to-goodness truth. Truths of this nature may be good or bad, accurate or inaccurate, depending on what you’ve experienced in your life. Many of us are carrying around a lot of systemic truths that are perpetuated by our culture. Many of us are carrying around a lot of abusive truths that were pushed on us by our immediate family. Both types of truths often feed into one another, wherein the truths given to you by your family are reinforced by your surrounding culture and vice versa. Of course, the “truths” that hurt us are false, but they often feel very very true, even if we don’t necessarily realize it, so when I am using the phrase “false truth”, what I am meaning is a truth that is unhealthy for us, a lie that has been sold to us as truth. You’ll see me using “trauma” pretty regularly alongside “false truth” because you’re most likely to receive false and unhealthy truths from abusive people and traumatic situations.

So let’s get into it.


The worst part about how humans develop is how long it takes our brains to finish developing. It doesn’t help that our brains are something like “a sports car that has been given to a three year old,” especially because these sports cars take about 25 years to finish growing, and if you experience any sort of trauma or abuse before those 25 years are up, you’re more likely to have that trauma hardwired into your sense of self. Which means you’ve got 25 years to learn a lot of garbage that you then have to unlearn again in order to be healthy. Although most of us consider ourselves to be very objective and rational and removed from silly things like ideas we absorbed in childhood and never really outgrew, the truth of the matter is that most of us have a lot of ideas we absorbed in childhood and never really outgrew. If we were all truly rational and capable of removing ourselves from emotional hard wiring, cognitive dissonance wouldn’t be a thing, nor would racism. The cold hard truth of the matter is, we are not separate from our emotions, and our emotions can cause us to lie to ourselves regularly in order to protect our sense of self. It takes constant and diligent work to push back against our own ability to lie to ourselves.

The cherry on top of the “takes 25 years to finish growing” thing is that that some of the most important years for our development are the first few years. How you are raised by your caregivers will usually determine core aspects of how you view the world. Whether you think the world is a safe place or not, whether you feel nurtured and loved or abandoned, whether you can trust people or not. If your parents manage to mess up the first five years of your life, you usually will have resulting mental health work that needs to happen once you’re an adult. To quote someone who has done more work in this field than I have:

When parents do not provide safe enough bonding and positive feedback, the child flounders in anxiety and fear. Many children appear to be hard-wired to adapt to this endangering abandonment with perfectionism. A prevailing climate of danger forces the child’s superego to over-cultivate the various programs of perfectionism and endangerment listed below. Once again, the superego is the part of the psyche that learns parental rules (read: truths) in order to gain their acceptance.

The inner critic is the superego gone bad. The inner critic is the superego in overdrive desperately trying to win your parents approval. When perfectionist driving fails to win welcoming from your parents, the inner critic becomes increasingly hostile and caustic. It festers into a virulent inner voice that increasingly manifests self-hate, self-disgust, and self-abandonment.

The inner critic blames you incessantly for shortcomings that it imagines to be the cause of your parents rejection. It is incapable of understanding that the real cause lies in your parents’ shortcomings. The critic-driven child can only think about the ways they are too much or not enough.

The child’s unfolding sense of self (the healthy ego) finds no room to develop. Their identity virtually becomes the critic. The superego trumps the ego. In this process, the critic becomes increasingly virulent and eventually switches from the parents’ internalized voice: “You’re bad” to the first person: “I’m bad”.

You can see some of these false truths that many of us get saddled with in the quote above. Core ideas about whether you’re lovable or not, whether you’re fundamentally good or not, whether you can trust people or yourself — all of these things take root in your first few years. All of these truths will play into how you behave towards others, how you behave towards yourself, etc.

There is a saying that always reminds me of heka: it’s like playing a guitar, everyone can do it poorly, and only a handful of people can do it well.

The best and the worst parts about heka is that it is something that is very accessible to everyone, and we all have the ability to utilize our words, our body language, our actions to influence the world around us. In antiquity, we have stories of the lowest classes of society being able to bring the king into a swoon because their heka was that good. We’ve got stories of gods changing key aspects of the cosmos with their fine-tuned heka. It is everywhere, and it is free for the utilizing if you want to.

But its best selling point is also its downfall. Everyone can utilize heka, and everyone does utilize heka whether they realize it or not. It’s very easy to have the subtle, abusive heka of your childhood manifesting in the very heka you use as an adult. It’s so easy to carry false truths in our words, and it can be very hard to unroot those truths from our minds.

If the very things we tell ourselves daily are not true, how can we really know that we are true in our voice, or that our voice is carrying truth upon it? Humans often engage in daily dialogue that is based off of these falsehoods we were raised to believe as truth, and I can’t help but wonder how it influences the very heka we construct, and by extension, how we construct the world around us. I mentioned in my inertia post that people often behave based off of their expectations, and if our inner dialogue expects us to eternally suck, then how will our heka have any truly lasting power? If you’re getting in your own way before you’ve even tried, how can you hope to succeed?

There are many ways to un-knot false truths that are stuck in our minds. The path to fixing such things is not straightforward or easy. For most of us, we don’t have the resources to really tackle these issues head-on in a way that makes the work timely. Gods know that I have regressed on this issue many times in the past, and will likely regress many times again in the future due to lack of resources and fucks to give. However, that doesn’t mean that the work shouldn’t still be done, even if it will be a grueling task along the way. This post is less about solutions (I could write those posts in time, if people wanted them), and more about opening the table for discussion, so if you’ve got thoughts, I welcome them.

When you look at the things you tell yourself, the truths you have been fed throughout your life, how many of them are true? How many of them feel true, but probably aren’t? How do these things influence your daily life? Do you think it influences your heka? And of course, most importantly, when you do come across these false truths, do you want to do something about them? Why or why not?

 

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Ancient Egyptians Didn’t Have Disordered Eating

If there is a problem that has plagued my ritual work for years, it’s my disordered eating. And while I know that there is no absolute way to determine whether ancient Egypt had disordered eating present or not, I feel pretty confident in my guess that it wasn’t a prolific problem, if it existed at all. For those of you who are unaware, disordered eating is technically a sort of eating disorder, its just that there isn’t a particular name for the way that your eating is not healthy or “normal.” Many people have disordered eating and don’t realize it — potentially as many as 3 out of every 4 Americans have it, and for many of us, its a byproduct of our mental health and the unhealthy culture that we’re forced to live in.

For me specifically, my disordered eating is often a byproduct of my depression and stress levels. When my depression skyrockets in a particular way, I often don’t feel like eating — even if I’m hungry. Most things sound completely unappetizing, and when I force myself to eat I often end up with stomach aches or meltdowns as a result. This, of course, is a problem if you’re doing ritual work because our ritual structure mandates that you offer something to eat to the NTRW. I have yet to see a single Kemetic ritual that doesn’t include food offerings as a staple chapter.

And I mean, why not? Food is great (I guess?), it’s what keeps us alive, and supposedly the NTRW help us to grow is so that we can sustain ourselves with it. But it’s a huge problem if you can’t bring yourself to eat.

Years ago, I sought to bypass the disordered eating by using votive offerings instead. I bought a bunch of ReMent and used that to fill my offering plates for many many years. Even if I couldn’t bring myself to eat, I could bring myself to give the NTRW replicas of what I was supposed to be eating. I could offer them more in terms of number and quantity than I could ever do with actual food. It allowed me to let go of the stress around food and just focus on being present.

Of course, people did not like the idea. I’ve read everything from “that’s half-assing it” to “if you give the NTRW ‘fake’ offerings, they’ll give you fake blessings in return.” And so I’ve always ended up having a mixed relationship with my votive offerings because years and years of being told that they aren’t good enough will eventually leave you feeling like they aren’t good enough.

And so when I finally could eat again, because my health issues had reached a certain level of improvement, I told myself that I should try to use real food and not votive offerings. I created a sort of “rule” in my head that votive offerings are only for people who can’t offer “real” food (not that I’d ever place that rule on someone else. It was only ever directed at me.) And so I packed them away and tried not to use them. Fast forward a few years to my Year of Rites project where I told myself I would use real food for the entire thing because I knew I should eat, could eat, and needed to eat. And therefore, should try to use my ritual work to motivate myself to eat better and regularly.

And I guess it’s worked so far. If you read through what few updates I’ve given, or parse through the images that I used to take, you’ll see that offerings were still a problem for me. I can’t tell you how many rituals get put off until the end of the day because I couldn’t force myself to cook or eat early enough to do things at a reasonable time, or how many times I just grabbed a piece of convenience snacking material to offer instead. But the more important point is that I was managing up until August.

I want to preface this with a certain level of “I knew this would happen.”

As my grandfather lay on his death bed, I could overhear my mother telling the handful of people that were there with us that she really wanted to make sure that people checked up on me for the next few weeks. She was worried that I would fall apart after he died, and seemingly was trying to be proactive or something. I remember trying to meet these people halfway, letting them know that my depression would likely stave itself for a month or two, and that if people were really concerned, they’d make sure that they came around in a month or two, because that’s when I’d likely actually need the help. My emotions take time to process. My disassociation takes time to wear off so that I can feel what I’m actually feeling.

It took a while to kick in, but I noticed that by the end of August, my eating was beginning to slip. I blamed it on a new medical protocol I was trying, and hoped that my appetite would return.

But it hasn’t. And I’m not really surprised about it. Just as I had told those people — it takes time for my grief to process, and so the depression took a bit to really settle in.

Each day that there is a ritual scheduled, I feel this sort of dread or aversion in my stomach. To know that not only do I need to come up with something to offer the gods, I need to actually eat it, and I need to prepare it at such a time that I will have the time to perform the ritual, but also won’t lose my desire to eat whatever it is by the time my ritual work is done (for example, if I take a break while eating, I often lose all desire to finish my meals. I eat to reduce my stomach pain, and once that’s even mildly resolved, I often quit eating.)

When you combine this with how much I absolutely can’t stand this last batch of rubrics I made, you’ve got a recipe for not doing many rituals. So far I’ve only missed three rites this year (they were all execrations. Execrations feel like the world’s biggest waste of time and involve finding a place to start a fire and smelling like smoke and I’d just rather not most days,) but I can tell that this last quarter will be the hardest because I hate the words and I hate the food. There are other factors at play as well, but I still feel that these are the largest components to why I’m avoidant of doing ritual work right now.

So this begs to ask — what does one do about this? After this year’s worth of work, I honestly have a lot of criticism of people’s assumptions about how rituals should be set up, how often one should be able to do them, what they should consist of, how much we should be maintaining ancient practices, etc. But even if we don’t get into analyzing traditional ideas of what Kemetic rituals entail, it still really needs to be asked: what do we do about disordered eating? It’s quite clear that the ancient Egyptians didn’t have this particular hurdle to overcome, and so it’s something that we modern practitioners need to answer for ourselves, and possibly for our community.

Votive offerings seemed to be a solid alternative, but at the same time, there is a lot of moral baggage that comes with using them. You risk being ostracized or criticized by your fellows, and that just leads to more dysfunction for a person. The other alternative is to not offer food at all, or perhaps give only a voice offering — but both of these are also rife with chastisement and belittling within our community (have I mentioned recently how much I hate our community? I hope this post gives a little peek as to some of the reasons why) and I know that I often feel like voice offerings are not “enough.” It would feel weird to sit at my shrine and just say words and not perform any ritual actions that mirror the words. So, from what I can tell, no clear alternative exists that won’t evoke feelings of shame because it results in at least a portion of our community putting someone down for using it or doing it.

So I ask you all, how do we get around this? What is the best solution? How do we modify ritual structures for modern problems such as this? Is there even an alternative that anyone can take that doesn’t result in being shat on? Because so far, the answer feels a lot like a no.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2019 in Kemeticism, Rambles, Year of Rites

 

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September Rubrics

We are in the final stretch of the calendar year, and with it, the final batch of rubrics for the year of rites project. I’ve experimented with some different methods in a few of this round’s rituals. I had read a paper about a translation of a daily offering meal from a limestone ostrakon, and in it, it discusses the benefit of using repetition within ritual structure. Since most of my rubrics have only lightly utilized repetition (if I’m honest, because I felt like I was half-assing if I decided to repeat a line four times instead of writing four unique lines,) I decided to give it a go to see how I like it. If you find you prefer one style over the other, let me know, as I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

I got rid of the purification of the ritual area because I got tired of slopping water all over my offering plate. If you’d like to keep that in, feel free to take one of the variations from an earlier rubric and throw it in after “Opening the Shrine” and before “Offering Light.”

This round’s akhu rite also utilizes a foreleg as an offering. I will be making 2D version, similar to my ma’at offerings. If you don’t have the capacity to come up with a foreleg to offer, you can do just the voice offering, or omit it entirely.


Making Ma’at

Opening the Shrine

O you dwellers in the sunshine, who bask daily in the glories of Re,
Prepare the paths for me, open for me the gates which are among the Coiled One’s,
for I know the circuit of Re and of those who are with him.
Prepare a path for me, for I am indeed alive, the heir of eternity, who passes everlasting, whom Re has placed over you.
I have seen the doubles, and the fire that goes forth, O you spirits, prepare a path for me.
Prepare a path for me, so that the fire can guide me to the place where the retinue resides.

See, you Lord of All, you who is hale, see that I have come to you.
See, you Lord of All, see with your right eye that I have come to you.
See, you Lord of All, see with your left eye that I have come to you.
See, you Lord of All, who is encompassed in beauty, see that I am before you here and now.
[open the shrine]
Awake in peace, Great God, awake in peace.
Gather yourself up and greet the new day, awake in peace.
Feel the fresh air in your divine nostrils, awake in peace.
You who makes ma’at to flourish, rise up to greet ma’at upon this day and awake in peace.

Offering Light

Greetings to you, О eye of Horus, you beacon of totality; glorious and sound
Greetings to you, О eye of Horus, who shines like Re in the double horizon.
Greetings to you, O eye of Horus, who shines in every shrine that is within the Two Lands.
Shine brightly, you eye of Horus. Extend your light over all of the Two Lands,
Shine brightly, you eye of Horus. Extend your light so that all can see.
Shine brightly, you eye of Horus. Extend your light so that ma’at prevails.

I present to you, O Lord of All, this eye of Horus, shining and complete.
O you ruler of the gods, take to this eye of Horus.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that you may be content because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and open your eyes with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Water

I present you with water, for breath is in my nose;
I present you with water, for breath is in your nose;
I present you with water, for it rejuvenates your body;
I present you with water, for it quenches your thirst;

O Shining One, take to this eye of Horus.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that your thirst may be quenched because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and part your lips with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Food

I bring to you your subsistence, a bounty that rejuvenates your form.
I bring to you all of the offerings that your heart desires.
Come to this subsistence, come to this bounty that will rejuvenate your form.
Come to these offerings, come to what your heart desires.

O you sole jackal in the sky, take to this eye of Horus.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that your hunger may be sated because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and part your lips with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Ma’at

I raise up ma’at to you, O Lord of everything, take her to you.
Ma’at will be with you, in every place where you are.
Ma’at is in your presence, Lord of All, she is with you at all hours and all times.
Take your beloved daughter; she loves you, she does not withdraw from you.
Take your beloved daughter; She is your throat that fills your body,
Take your beloved daughter; she is your gullet that leads the food to your stomach;
Take your beloved daughter; for beautiful ma’at is yours great lord, you live from her, you breathe from her.
She is yours forever.

Take to this eye of Horus, Great God.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, it is yours forever.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Reversion of Offerings

O Shining One, your enemies have fallen and no longer exist.
Everything is renewed and restored throughout the Two Lands through the work of our hands.
Take these offerings to yourself as I take these offerings to myself in the name of reversion of offerings.
Release these offerings to your servant, so that I may partake of what you partake of.
So that I might be shining and whole as the NTRW.


Akhu

Opening the Shrine

O Shu, make a way for me, for I am he who restored Osiris.
I am one who has seen the Weary One in his time of suffering.
I have come and I have removed the weariness from him, as his Companions do.
I am one in the entourage of Osiris, one who goes by night and returns by day, do not repulse me upon your path,
For I have power in my foot, and I have traversed the ways that only the kites know so that I may glorify the soul of my father on this day.

I have come the pillared hall so that I may see you, great god,
I have come to you as Nehebkau to bestow divinities upon you, and to glorify your soul
which is equipped and divine; it shines as Re, it travels as Hathor, and all that you see is yours.
O Osiris, Osiris, see that I have come to you in order to set your movements in order.
O Osiris, Osiris, make a path for me on this day, for I am one who surpasses mortal men and knows your secrets,
O Osiris, Osiris, make a path for me on this day, for I am one in the entourage of Osiris,
One who goes by night and returns by day, do not repulse me upon your path,

[Open Shrine]

Awake in peace, Bull of the West, awake in peace.
Rise up and be full of life, for you are not dead.
Awake in peace, Bull of the West, awake in peace.
Raise yourself up with both of your arms
and receive these bounties of yours that have been provided for you.
Awake in peace, Bull of the West, awake in peace.
Betake yourself to me, be near to me, for I am your son Horus.
Awake in peace, Bull of the West, awake in peace.
As I enclose you within the arms of your mother Nut,
So that you may be enduring.
Awake in peace, Bull of the West, awake in peace.

Offering Light

The light of Horus shines on the horizon, his light shines for the weary ones in all of their places.
See the eye of Horus. glorious, sound and in peace.
See the eye of Horus shining like Re in the horizon.
See the eye of Horus as it drives away your the enemies.
See the eye of Horus as its light shines for you.

Come to this torch, O Weary One, it confers its protection upon you.
Come to this torch, O Weary One, which makes a light for your ka,
Come to this torch, O Weary One, which illuminates the night after the day, the eye of Horus appearing radiant in this shrine.
Come to this torch, O Weary One, which appears radiant on your forehead.
Take to yourself this eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Water

I bring you this water which flows forth from the Two Caverns for you,
I bring you this water, which cleanses your temples and restores your body.
Take of this Water, O Osiris. Take this water to you.
Quench your thirst with your efflux. Quench your thirst through the waters of the Nile.
I have brought to you the Eye of Horus so that you will not be thirsty
I have brought to you the Eye of Horus so that your lips will not be dry.
I have brought to you the Eye of Horus so that you may feed on it just as Horus fed on it.
I have brought to you the Eye of Horus so that you may renew your youth in peace.

Offering Food

I bring to you your subsistence, a bounty that rejuvenates your form.
I bring to you all of the offerings that your heart desires.
Come to this subsistence, come to this bounty that will rejuvenate your form.
Come to these offerings, come to what your heart desires.

O you ba among the akhs, take to this eye of Horus.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that your hunger may be sated because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and part your lips with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Foreleg

I have crossed the sky as the Lion on the day of butchery for you to bring to you what you desire.
I have separated the foreleg for you, you Lord of Life.
I have traversed the Two Lands with it, so that I may bring it to you.
Take the foreleg to you, beautiful one, take it to you so that it will revitalize your ka.
Take to this eye of Horus, Great God.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the strength in the eye of Horus.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Ma’at

I raise up ma’at to reside with you, she takes her place in every place where you are.
Ma’at is in your presence, she is with you at all hours and all times.
Take your beloved ma’at; she loves you, she does not withdraw from you.
Take your beloved ma’at; She is your throat that fills your body,
Take your beloved ma’at; she is your gullet that leads the food to your stomach;
Take your beloved ma’at; for she is with you great lord, you live from her, you breathe from her.

Take to this eye of Horus, Great God.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, it is yours forever.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Reversion of Offerings

O Weary One, your enemies have fallen and no longer exist.
Everything is renewed and restored throughout the Two Lands through the work of our hands.
Take these offerings to yourself as I take these offerings to myself in the name of reversion of offerings.
Release these offerings to your servant, so that I may partake of what you partake of.
So that I might be shining and whole as the NTRW.


Propitiation

Opening the Shrine

O you Protector of the land, rise within the horizon, and take control of the sky that is yours.
You make the Two Lands content through the work of your hands, your joy is for you.
The hearts of both of the Enneads are content when they see you filled with joy,
See that you are in the midst of your entourage and supporters, and so your joy is for you.

O hearts of the Enneads, you who are filled with contentment on this day,
Prepare a path for me so that I may pass by.
I know this path well, for it leads to my mistress, the Great Gold.
The Sistrum-player is in my body, and the scent of my mother calls to me.
O hearts of the Enneads, you know the joy that issues forth when she is propitiated and firm upon her seat.
Prepare a path for the equipped spirit in me,
For I have prepared a path to the place where Re is, to the place where Hathor is.
So that I may make manifest the beauty of my goddess.

[open shrine]

I kiss the earth as the sight of your beauty, O Great Gold
I worship my mistress, for I have seen her beauty;
I bring these bounties to my mistress, for I have seen her beauty;
I give praise to Hathor, for I have seen her beauty.
She appears here in this place before me, your shape is distinguished above the gods, and I see your beauty.

Offering Light

I strike the flint to light the way ahead for you, Great Gold.
I strike the flint to ensure that there is always a light shining in your shrines.
I strike the flint that brings the fire that drives away the enemies of the Two Lands
I strike the flint so that there will always be light to see the way.

Take this light to yourself and be cleansed by it.
Take this light to yourself and be made pure by it.
Take this light to yourself and be made whole by it.
Take this light to yourself and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Water

I present you with water, it brings brilliance to your ka;
I present you with water, it is what flows forth from you;
I present you with water, it rejuvenates your body;
I present you with water, it quenches your thirst;

O Shining One, take to this eye of Horus.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that your thirst may be quenched because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and part your lips with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Food

I bring to you your subsistence, your nourishment, your ka.
Your divinities are for you, come to them and take them to yourself.
Take to these your offerings, filled with what you love.
I appease your heart with what you love, for your majesty is great when you are filled with joy.

Truly, your heart becomes green when you take this Eye to you.
Truly, your heart becomes green when you are renewed because of your eye.
Truly, your heart becomes green when your hunger is sated because of it.
Truly, your heart becomes green when you part your lips with it.
Truly, your heart becomes green when you renew your youth in peace.

Offering Ma’at

I raise up Ma’at to you, behold Ma’at as the fiery Eye of Horus, take her to you.
Your Ma’at is for you, O Protector, Ma’at is with you in every place where you are, she destroys all who stand against her.
Ma’at is in your presence, she is with you at all hours and all times.
Take your beloved Ma’at; she loves you, she does not withdraw from you.
Take your beloved Ma’at; She is your throat that fills your body,
Take your beloved Ma’at; she is your magic, which is effective;
Take your beloved Ma’at; she is your essence, you live from her, you breathe from her.
She is yours forever.

Take to this eye of Horus, Bountiful Goddess.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, it is yours forever.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Reversion of Offerings

O you Glittering Gold, your enemies have fallen and no longer exist.
Everything is renewed and restored throughout the Two Lands through the work of our hands.
Take these offerings to yourself as I take these offerings to myself in the name of reversion of offerings.
Release these offerings to your servant, so that I may partake of what you partake of.
So that I might be shining and whole as the NTRW.


Execration

Be seated Great Gods, in the presence of Geb, the chiefest of the netjeru
For I am Horus, with ma’at upon my brow.
Aset bore me, Khebet raised me, Set served me over and above his own powers,
and Osiris has given me both of his staffs as proof of my Power.
I am at the Head of the Enneads. I am at the head of my father, and at the head of the living.
I have taken control of the Two Lands as Horus the Lord of Justice,
and I stop the movements of those who threaten the netjeru or their followers.

O you of whom the Double Lion is afraid, see that I see you, hiding inside the Cavern of the Rebel.
You have uttered rebellion against Ma’at
You have created discord throughout the Two Lands, which are guarded by the Great Demolisher.
A light has been kindled against you in the Mansions of Sepa,
And you will be destroyed upon this day.

Get back, you watchful one, who changes shape, who conveys away souls, who drags away hearts;
Be destroyed, for I am Geb, chiefest of the gods, and Atum, Lord of being, and I have power over you.
The power of the Hidden One acts as proxy for me, Ptah stands up for me, and I have power over you.
My champion is Thoth, his strength is in my arm, his might is in my mouth, and I have power over you.
I have taken possession of the might of Atum; and I have power over you.
I go on my feet, my speech is in my mouth when I smite my foes,
I have come against this foe of mine, who has been given to me
and you will not escape from me; for I have power over you.

Anyone on heaven or earth who shall stand against ma’at, my magic will drive them off.
The fire will go up, the flame will go up from the bellies of those who creep,
and the fiery one will be against them as the Eye of Re.

*Take up your piece of paper, this is where you get to yell at it, stomp on it, tear it up, light it on fire, etc. Follow the prompts in the rubric or do what you feel. Get cathartic.*

Get back a/pep, get back you rebel of Ra
O Bowel, be destroyed before Ra, for I know the evil that you create.
The knife of the execution-block is in your flesh!
Taste the cutting of the Great God!
Your head is cut off! Your body is cut into pieces!
You are powerless against my Effectiveness!
Be spat upon oh enemy of ma’at!
Feel the weight of my legs as my foot crushes your body.
Flames cut into your face! Fire consumes your soul!

Wither and rot from the magic in my mouth!
Be put to the fire and be destroyed! Be fallen and crushed!
Thoth’s fingers are in your eyes and his magic has laid hold of you.
Your form is annihilated, your shape is destroyed in all of its places and forms.
You are rendered impotent, your soul does not exist.
Your seat does not exist. Your children do not exist.
You are utterly destroyed in every place.

__

Opening the Shrine

I have come down into the land of the Silent One,
I have been equipped because of the vulture and the favor she has for me.
I am Khopri who came into being of himself upon his mother’s lap;
See, this magic of mine has been brought to me; I have gathered together this magic of mine
Wherever the foe stood, I was quicker than a hound; speedier than Shu.
Wherever the foe stood, my magic was effective and exacting.

O you entourage of Re, I have driven off the rebel, I have made A/pep impotent,
O you NTRW, I protected you and have shut fast the jaws of your foes;
I have seized him who would take you to his place of slaughter.
Your protection comes to you and your son Sopd the sharp-toothed acts as protector from whoever would harm you.
Your heavens are established and your cities are firmly rooted.
The Two Lands are in joy, and the hearts of all of the NTRW are glad
for a/pep has fallen into the fire.
All of the foes of all of the NTRW are fallen.
All of the NTRW are triumphant over their enemies.
I stand behind the NTRW and make their arms strong
so that their enemies may be destroyed, as I have on this day.

Offering Light

Be mighty, be mighty, О eye of Horus!
Be mighty over isfet in every place that it resides, that enemy who has wrought great evil,
It is your fire that burns his limbs,
It is your fire that burns his flesh,
It is your fire that eradicates his form, in every place he resides.
It is your fire that destroys him entirely, in your name, the Eye of Horus.

I offer you this eye of Horus, you glorious NTRW.
This eye of Horus alights in every shrine that is your, in every place that is yours.
Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that you may be content because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and open your mouth with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Water

Your water is yours, your flood is yours, being abundant.
Raise yourself, receive these waters from me, your servant.
I pour for you the primordial water to satisfy your statue;
I pour for you the primordial water to satisfy your thirst;
I pour for you the primordial water to satisfy your body;
I have brought you this Eye of Horus and placed it at your feet.

Take to yourself when you take the eye of Horus that is before you
Take to yourself that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus that your thirst may be quenched because of it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and part your lips with it.
Take to yourself the eye of Horus, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Food

A/pep has fallen and his meat is on the fire,
I offer his fat to you, see that his fat is on the fire.
I offer his fat to you, so that it may sate your hunger.
I offer his confederates to you, see their bones beneath your feet.
I offer his confederates to you, see that they do not exist.

Take this sustenance to you, allow it to fill your belly and fuel your body.
Take this sustenance to you, so that you may be renewed because of your eye.
Take this sustenance to you, that your hunger may be sated because of it.
Take this sustenance to you, and renew your youth in peace.

Offering Ma’at

Behold Ma’at as the fiery Eye of Horus.
Her exacting justice has cast out the rebels, and her magics were exacting in the bodies of your foes.
I raise up Ma’at to you, O you glorious Enneads, take her to you.
Your Ma’at is for you, O Great Gods, Ma’at is with you in every place where you are, she destroys all who stand against her.
Her fire has gone out, sought out the rebels, and her flame has destroyed them.
Truly, your enemies are destroyed, and Ma’at triumphs in your space.

Ma’at is in your presence, she is with you at all hours and all times.
Take your beloved Ma’at; she loves you, she does not withdraw from you.
Take your beloved Ma’at; She is your throat that fills your body,
Take your beloved Ma’at; she is your gullet that leads the food to your stomach;
Take your beloved Ma’at; for beautiful ma’at is yours, you live from her, you breathe from her.
She is yours forever.

Reversion of Offerings

O you NTRW, your enemies have fallen and no longer exist.
Everything is renewed and restored throughout the Two Lands through the work of our hands.
Take these offerings to yourself as I take these offerings to myself in the name of reversion of offerings.
Release these offerings to your servant, so that I may partake of what you partake of.
So that I might be shining and whole as the NTRW.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2019 in Kemeticism, Making Ma'at, Year of Rites

 

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Ma’at was Always Political

This week sat received an ask, wherein the inquirer states that “Ma’at was made so political.” It really stuck out to me, because as far as I can tell, ma’at was always political. When you look at the definition of “politics,” at the very very bottom, you get “use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university, etc.” which might seem antithetical to ma’at, right?

I don’t know many folks who would think it is within ma’at to “obtain any positions of power or control.” I say this because it’s not uncommon for members of our community to assume that anyone with any amount of social following or clout is somehow looking to become a megalomaniac or a cult leader. The mistrust that our community has with power is warranted, but it’s not historically informed when it comes to ma’at itself.

Ma’at is intrinsically tied to kingship in ancient Egypt. There are no two ways around that, and I don’t think I should have to lay out historical data to prove that the king used legitimacy and ritual to show the whole of Egypt that he was the divine ruler, the Horus here on earth that was meant to maintain ma’at for the entire country. So if we’re looking from a historical aspect, ma’at is defacto tied to politics. Sometimes ma’at was used to do good things, like help members of other countries in need, and other times she was used to do bad things, like start wars to gain control of people’s resources.

Of course, just because ma’at was tied to politics in the past doesn’t mean that it has to be tied to politics now, right? Well, I think it depends on what you’re cherry picking from our resources in order to form your argument. To make it easy, let’s pick one of the most widely-accepted tenets of ma’at: giving food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, a boat to the boatless. All three of these things are considered very ma’atian acts to perform. Did you know that giving food to the hungry is an arrestable offense in many places? Same goes for clothing, if you’re giving it to the wrong person. Your “not political” act just suddenly got political. It’s almost as if living under an authoritative government means that politics has a say over almost all aspects of your life, it’s shocking.

So that got me thinking, if anon wasn’t trying to say that ma’at was political, what else could they be trying to say?

If I’m being honest, I don’t think it’s that our anonymous asker was somehow lost on the fact that ma’at was originally political, no. I think it’s that this anonymous asker believes that people like me are politicizing ma’at, which is a very subtle, but important distinction. Because when most people think you’re politicizing something, they believe that you are taking something and trying to use it to gain power and promote a specific bias.

You see this in our society through things like the anti-vaxx movement, climate change, reproductive rights, etc. where a particular group tries to call into question the validity of data or information presented about a topic by going “but they’re trying to politicize it so that they can push their [inaccurate] bias.” What’s interesting is that most of these things are slanted towards the right side of the political spectrum. Which is to say that it’s mostly right-leaning people who have taken these topics that apply to everyone, and decided that they’re not actually that important to fight, fix, or fund. But instead of being honest about it, its sexier to imply that the “other side” is just politicizing (read: lying about) the whole thing. Yes, these things could be considered inherently unpolitical, but because of the world we live in, they are anything but.

So ultimately, when you see someone trying to tell someone else that they’re politicizing something that isn’t “inherently political,” you’re likely watching someone indirectly try to shut down the conversation about a topic (because it makes them uncomfortable.) To pull a good quote (cw: rape mention, victim blaming used as an example):

Words like “political” then are a means of controlling when (perhaps even if) we will allow discussion of some issues and what the nature of that discussion can be. Silence on issues like homosexual rights, sexual assault, climate change, and war all promote the status quo. If we don’t talk about homosexuals, then they remain deviant. If we don’t talk about sexual assault, then it remains a private problem of a few isolated women (who might have been “asking for it” anyway). If we don’t talk about climate change, then we can keep consuming and polluting without feelings of guilt. If we don’t talk about war, then the gears can keep spinning. In addition, by limiting tax-exempt organizations to discussing things that are “not political”, we keep them from pointing to problems in society as the cause of the issues they address. They can feed the hungry, but they can’t call for the end of the root cause of hunger in an extremely wealthy nation: wealth inequality. (x)

And therein lies the crux of the problem. Our anonymous asker is assuming that people like me have taken ma’at, an innocent pure bystander, and turned it into a weapon to convert people to our way of thinking. But the truth of the matter is, ma’at has always been what she is, and most of those who aren’t living on a couch of privilege understand that that means she’s political and that the concept ends up being inherently politicized. If anything, I didn’t change ma’at, ma’at changed me — which is how its supposed to work when you convert to a religion.

Existence is inherently political for all of us (only if you care about the health and well-being of other people, of course.) Our governments can, and will, do horrible things to people if left unchecked. We are all overseen by governmental structures that can do said horrid things, so to be able to be blind about what is going on on a governmental level (aka “not political”) is a luxury that only the most protected members of society can rely (aka rich white people, if you’re living in America.) There is a phrase that says that the ability to “not be political” is a sign of privilege, and this is exactly why. There is only a small, narrow portion of our community that isn’t a part of a marginalized group, and as such, it should be a given that politics will bleed into discussions on how best to live one’s life in ma’at. The marginalized members of our community shouldn’t be asked to hide parts of their lived experience simply because more-privileged members of our community are being made uncomfortable. Nor should they be forced to share their religious community with people who deny their (marginalized people) lived experience simply because they don’t want to explore how their own inherent bigotry is actually bad and should be changed.

So in conclusion, if we are to use ma’at to inform our decision-making and actions in our lives, and if most of us are living inherently politicized lives, then it stands to reason that ma’at was destined to be tied to politics, even in the modern era. Yes, you can choose to ignore this fact because it makes you uncomfortable, but I think the bigger question should be: why would you want to?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on August 21, 2019 in Kemeticism, Making Ma'at, Rambles

 

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Isfet as a System

Before you read this post, you absolutely have to read part one first. Otherwise, nothing will really make sense.

In the last post in this series, I left off with discussing why ma’at should be considered a regenerative system, but in order to explain why we should view ma’at in this fashion, we really need to discuss isfet, and then place both concepts side by side in order to see how they function together. In many ways, in order to understand one, I feel you really need to look at both at the same time.

So to get this started, let’s talk about the harbinger of degeneration: disorder.

The role of disorder

Ironically, we have a definition for disorder within natural systems: any resource that can not be used productively by an organism. That is to say, if you get too much of a Thing, even if its a Really Good Thing, you are being thrown into disorder. In terms of keeping natural systems healthy, any natural system really needs to have moderation in all of its parameters, which often times will be summed up as “a healthy level of stress.” Key word here being: healthy. In the same way that our muscles atrophy without use, other parts of systems begin to fall apart if they are never remotely pushed, challenged, or introduced to change (in nature, this usually is changing of seasons, fauna, etc.)

You can see what disorder in natural systems looks like by looking at the weather patterns of 2019. The midwest got too much rain and too much snow. The southwest hasn’t gotten enough heat or rain. Texas has gotten too much rain too early, and is not getting enough now. All of these are examples of ecosystems getting too much or too little of a resource; they are all examples of regenerative systems rubbing against disorder (which is a nice way of saying climate change.)

Too much of something will always result in disorder. Disorder and dysfunction are the gateways to a regenerative system becoming degenerative (isfet.)

We see this time and time again within our own mythological stories, where excess often results in harm or bad things happening, even if what you’re excessing on is not inherently bad. For example, Re’s excessive fear and pride led to his releasing his Eye out onto the world. Her excessive blood lust caused a lot of destruction that Re then had to go and remedy (with more excess — drinking, in this case.) Osiris got a big ol welt on his head from his Atef crown because he was being so vane and arrogant.

When viewed from this lens, it stands to reason why Set often gets classified as necessary chaos or necessary change (he is also a god of excess, showing that the NTRW can also waver in terms of their own balance and moderation.) As I mentioned above, systems need to be pushed sometimes in order to stay healthy. Nothing lives in a vacuum, and so all systems must continually grow and adapt to the ever-changing world around them. When properly handled and balanced, the chaos that Set brings is supposed to be this sort of stress that allows things to grow into something more than they currently are. When the deceased talks about Set “serving [me] above and beyond his own powers,” they are talking about the fact that Set’s service to all of us is supposed to be that useful, healthy stress that pushes us to level up.

The problem is, we don’t live in a healthy regenerative system, and so this disorder often hits harder than it should, and if left unchecked, it becomes very easy for a regenerative system to recoil from any contact with any disorder, ultimately pushing it closer and closer towards becoming degenerative.

Isfet: degeneration in action

If you are continually given more of a Thing than you can handle, it results in disorder within a system or systems. Disorder is what happens when we stray from the moderation and predictable cycling of nature that is necessary to maintain all regenerative and natural systems. In this respect, frequent or constant disorder is a symptom, a warning sign that you’re beginning to slide into isfetian territory. That something within your system is not jiving with some other aspect of another system, and as a result, the quality and health of that system is slowly shifting towards becoming degenerative.

For better or worse, it’s pretty easy to map out what a system starts to do when it begins to slide into degeneration:

  1. Reduction of predictable cycles and resources, causing general disorder within the system.
  2. As general disorder increases, lack of proper synchronization between members of the system occurs, exacerbating the resource distribution further.
  3. Lack of resources leads to excessive stress on all organisms in the systems
  4. Critical mass is reached, and parts of the ecosystem begin to collapse, biodiversity begins to drop.
  5. Reduction of keystone species causes widespread collapse. A single member of a keystone species often supports (usually) hundreds-to-thousands of other organisms at any given time.
  6. Once keystone species begin to disappear, the entire system faces a reduction of resiliency overall. If left unchecked, the system will completely disappear or become “dead” for all intents and purposes.

To see how this sort of situation pans out in real time, all you need to do is look at climate change and desertification. Human activity has caused too much stress to be put onto too many natural systems, and now those systems are slowly (and yet oh-so-quickly) shifting into disorder. As the disorder increases, the cycles that mark stable regenerative systems become more and more out of alignment and out of sync. From there, systems begin to fail. Forests turn into scrub land, scrub land into desert, desert into dunes. The soil supports less and less plant growth, so less and less organisms can be supported by the same amount of land. You get increasingly bad natural disasters and you begin to have winter in May.

For examples on a smaller scale, it’s that moment when you grab a cigarette instead of handling your feelings. It’s when you stay up late on your phone instead of going to bed at a healthy time, or choose to escape into the television instead of handling problems. It’s all of those small little things that detract from our overall well being that we do because we think its harmless.

All of these things are examples of a system being dragged out of regeneration into degeneration. And it’s affecting all of us, because we’re all natural, regenerative systems relying for our survival on a much larger series of natural systems that are being dragged into isfetian territory.

The importance of scale and context

One of the biggest things I wanted to make sure to clarify is that in many situations, isfet is not a singular action, but a series of actions or a trend that occurs over a period of time. Disorder is often like a crescendo: it starts off small and quiet. A few things here, a few things there. But then it slowly builds until it becomes a pattern, a habit, a trend. Something that happens consistently time and time again, which slowly takes a toll on the resilience of the system it is antagonizing.

To pick on climate change again, it wasn’t just one farmer that caused our soil to degrade. It wasn’t just one car that polluted the air. It wasn’t just one billionaire or CEO hiding key information about how we’re destroying the planet. No, it was millions of cars, hundreds of farmers and fields, and many many years of people in positions of power purposefully choosing to ignore the writing on the wall while the planet slowly degraded in the background. It’s not just one action, its lots of little actions that have built on one another to create a wave.

Similarly, the solution to something like climate change won’t be one simple action, either. It takes many many actions to degrade, and it takes many many actions to rebuild.

This is vital to understand because we must always examine situations within their wider context. We must always look at trends, because while exceptions to a rule can exist, it also belies that there is a rule, a trend, that this exception is pushing against.

This is why the balance of ma’at is so necessary. Regenerative beings need specific things in order to survive, and when that balance gets thrown into disarray, everything that system touches is effected on some level. While it’s not just a singular action that will cause a system to degenerate, at the same time, it is still very easy for things to quickly degrade and shift from bad to worse. It’s why the gods would have needed to be persistent and diligent with fighting back isfet.

I mentioned in the first post that in this modern era we have built up this sort of facade that we are somehow separate and untouchable from the natural systems we were born into, but its simply not true. The more degenerative the system we live in becomes, the more necessary and, frankly, involuntary it’ll be for people to participate in fixing the problems at hand.

Maintaining ma’at is the responsibility of all of us. Even if you’re avoiding it now, eventually you may not have that luxury.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to apply this model to aspects of our lives to see if it is harmful and isfetian in nature, or if its helping to sustain or increase ma’at in the world.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2019 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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